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Michelle Obama campaigns for husband at UMW
The first lady greets supporters following her speech at UMW's Anderson Center.
ROBERT A. MARTIN/THE FREE LANCE-STAR
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BY CHELYEN DAVIS
First lady Michelle Obama told local supporters Thursday that her husband understands their struggles because he lived them.
And she urged them to spread the message that the country needs to re-elect President Barack Obama to continue moving forward with the slow but certain economic progress made over the past three years.
Speaking at a rally of about 2,100 people at the University of Mary Washington's William Anderson Center, Mrs. Obama started with a reference to the killings of the American ambassador to Libya and others this week.
She said she wanted to say "truly how heartbroken Barack and I are about the horrific tragedy that occurred."
"These brave Americans, and so many men and women just like them, they are the face of American diplomacy," Mrs. Obama said. "Often times, they do it in harm's way."
Her speech echoed the one she made at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte last week.
She described President Barack Obama as someone who came from good values but little money, who understood the need for government policies that help people succeed.
When a door of opportunity opens, Mrs. Obama said, "You don't slam it shut behind you. You reach back and you give folks the same chances that helped you succeed.
"That's how Barack and I and so many of you were raised. We learned that how hard you worked matters more than how much you make. We learned that the truth matters, so you don't take shortcuts. You don't game the system. You don't play by your own set of rules. And we learned that no one gets where they are on their own."
Those values, she said, are important in a leader.
"The issues that come across a president's desk are always the hard ones," Mrs. Obama said. "I've seen that when it comes time to make those tough calls, when everyone's urging you to do what's easy or what polls best as president, you need to truly be driven by the struggles, hopes, and dreams of all the people you serve.
"Since the day he took office on issue after issue, crisis after crisis, that's what we've seen in my husband."
The crowd at UMW cheered the first lady frequently, at times drowning out her words.